Jewish childcare worker Nicola Pettit, 29, and her non-Jewish partner Tania Ward, 28, were among the first lesbian couples to take advantage of their new equality in the eyes of the law as the United Kingdom legalized gay marriage over the weekend.
Their wedding was one of dozens of ceremonies that were held soon after the law came into effect on Saturday at midnight. It is believed to have been the first same-sex marriage in the country to contain Jewish elements, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
The couple from were first married in a civil ceremony at Brighton Town Hall in southern England, followed by a traditional Jewish blessing led by Reform Rabbi Janet Darley at the South London Liberal Synagogue.
“It was really important for me to have a rabbi and other Jewish elements present,” Pettit was quoted as saying by the Jewish Chronicle. “It also means a lot for my mum and the rest of my family, who all attend the Liberal Jewish Synagogue together.”
Pettit added that she was grateful to be recognized in marriage and still be able to follow her religion.
“Liberal Judaism is delighted to be correcting an injustice,” chief executive of Liberal Judaism Rabbi Danny Rich was quoted as saying by the Chronicle.
Representatives for the Liberal and Reform movements said that so far no other couples had arranged for same-sex Jewish marriage ceremonies.
The Marriage Act was passed in July 2013, but couples were only able to register their intent to marry under the Act starting on March 13 of this year, with the Act officially coming into force on March 29.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the extension of marital rights “an important moment for our country,” in an article for gay news service Pink News. “It says we are a country that will continue to honor its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth.”